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Since January 2009, MSHA has received 3,951 hazard condition complaints and 289 discrimination complaints.
MSHA recently revised its publication “A Guide to Miners’ Rights and Responsibilities under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.” As the title suggests, the booklet summarizes the rights guaranteed all miners under the Mine Act as well as the responsibility of all miners to take an active role in matters of mine safety and health. The publication is available at www.msha.gov/S&HINFO/minersrights/minersrights.asp.
MSHA issues safety alert, fatality update
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a safety alert and fatality update to the mining industry to draw renewed attention to deaths that have occurred this year in mines throughout the country.
“While headlines continue to focus on the disaster at Upper Big Branch Mine, we cannot lose sight of the fact that other miners are losing their lives at our nation’s mines,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. “Since the beginning of this year, 28 other miners from all sectors of mining have died in fatal accidents. We must take action to prevent additional fatalities.”
MSHA compiled data on the most common causes of mining deaths in 2010:
• Eight miners were killed when they were struck by moving or falling objects;
• Roof falls and rib rolls crushed seven miners;
• Six miners were killed while working in close proximity to mining or haulage equipment;
• Three miners lost their lives in explosions and fires; and
• One miner was killed when he was caught inside rotating machinery.
Eight of the dead miners were contractors, including one who fell to his death, and one who was killed when his truck went through a berm and over a highwall. One miner drowned in a dredge pond.
The agency has posted the safety alert and fatality update on its Web site. This information not only details the year’s mining deaths, it offers best practices to prevent additional deaths. There are also links to posters that operators can print and install at their mining operations.
MSHA says its inspectors will be “especially mindful of these issues while performing inspections.” The agency says inspectors will talk to miners and mine supervisors in operations throughout the country to discuss these types of fatalities and the ways to prevent them.
In a letter to the mining community, Assistant Secretary Main reminded mine operators that effective safety and health management programs save lives.
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